Jaffrey Budget Committee make no changes following review

Town Manager Jon Frederick presents the Select Board's proposed budget to Budget Committee members Charlie Turcotte, Chair Norman Langevin and Bob Schaumann during a Budget Committee meeting on Saturday.

Town Manager Jon Frederick presents the Select Board's proposed budget to Budget Committee members Charlie Turcotte, Chair Norman Langevin and Bob Schaumann during a Budget Committee meeting on Saturday. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI—

By ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

Published: 01-08-2024 12:27 PM

The Jaffrey Budget Committee made no changes to the Select Board’s recommended operating budget following a full budget review on Saturday, tentatively approving an operating budget of $7.3 million, a 2% increase from the current budget.

Jaffrey has an elected Budget Committee, which officially sets the budget each year. Prior to the Budget Committee review, the Select Board meets with town department heads to review their proposals for the coming year, and presents a recommended budget to the Budget Committee. The Select Board finalized its recommended budget in mid-December.

The operating budget of $7.3 million, up from $7.16 million, does not reflect the cost of the water and sewer departments of the town’s self-funded Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts, or the cost of warrant articles. It also does not include potential raises for the town’s Highway Department or Police Department employees, as those are negotiated through union contracts and the contracts are put before voters as warrant articles, rather than within the budget.

The Police Department agreement would include an increase of $16,549 for salaries and benefits, and the Highway Department would include a $18,112 increase.

Salary and benefit increases are the biggest impact to the budget this year, with an overall 3% cost-of-living adjustment for employees, in addition to merit raises issued last year. Employee insurance rates have also risen, with health insurance rates increasing 6.8%.

Total appropriations, including the operating budget, the water and sewer budget, the town’s TIF districts and all warrant articles, would be $12.4 million. Assuming both the budget and all warrants pass unchanged at Town Meeting, the overall increase of the town’s tax burden is estimated to be 4.9%, under the selectman’s proposal. The potential impact to the tax rate would be an increase of about 52 cents per $1,000 of assessed valuation.

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Town Manager Jon Frederick informed the board that there is no anticipated increase for the water rate this year, despite the town originally anticipating needing to raise the rates due to capital projects. Frederick said due to the town receiving grant funding for those projects, the rate remained level.

The Budget Committee will meet next on Jan. 18. The public hearing on the budget is scheduled for Feb. 10 at the Jaffrey Fire Station at 9 a.m

Ashley Saari can be reached at 603-924-7172, Ext. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on X @AshleySaariMLT.